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Metro Atlanta's transportation future is in your hands | News

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Metro Atlanta's transportation future is in your hands

ATLANTA (WXIA) - The Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax, or TSPLOST, is a measure that Georgians will get to vote on in a special election in July.

The measure, put forth in each of the state's 12 regional commission districts, will put forth a one-percent sales tax on top of existing sales taxes, which will go to funding an extensive laundry list of transportation taxes in each area around the state.

If approved by voters, up to $19 billion will be collected statewide over the next decade and help fund transportation improvements across the state.

NEW POLL | TSPLOST vote up in the air at this point
RELATED | Read and download Metro Atlanta's final investment list
MORE | Final investment lists for entire state of Georgia

In Metro Atlanta, a massive list of potential transportation projects has been whittled down to a nearly $7.1 billion list of projects that cover all parts of the metro area. The projects include investments infrastructure to create more serviceable roads, improvements in MARTA and other transit-related projects, the creation of new roadways and exits, traffic mitigation measures that will help enhance transportation corridors, and overall help alleviate one of the biggest challenges that face Metro Atlanta residents and visitors on a daily basis: simply getting around.

The state's Transportation Investment Act of 2012 created the means by which the regional districts would be able to impose a 1 percent sales tax - the so-called "penny tax" - to fund major transportation improvements within each region. Regional roundtables made up of elected officials were established by the act in order to help develop the list of projects to be funded by the tax.

The chief elected officers of the ten counties around Metro Atlanta, along with Atlanta's mayor, came together as the Atlanta Regional Roundtable. That group was tasked with developing the initial investment list - referred to by some as a "wish list" -- of projects they'd like to see attention given to. That "unconstrained list" was whittled down to a "constrained list" of projects by mid 2011. After 12 public information meetings, where public input regarding the projects was sought, the final investment list was approved on October 13.

The final investment list for the Metro Atlanta area includes such wide-ranging projects as the rebuild of the I-20/285 interchange on the west side of Atlanta, to the widening of Pleasant Hill Road in Gwinnett County. A number of projects went by the wayside, to the chagrin of officials and residents in a number of areas, including the proposed I-20 east transit line in DeKalb County and parts of the Cobb County transit proposal.

The final list also includes generalized timetables for each project, within a ten-year timeframe.

The final project list is what voters will get to weigh in on in July, in an up-or-down vote.

If passed, the TSPLOST will remain in effect for ten years. The tax is not permitted to remain in effect any longer, unless voters in the region approve an extension of the tax.


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